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The Houses October Built 2 (2017)

Considering my enjoyment of the first installment in the 'The Houses October Built' series, I'm not entirely sure why it has taken me this long to get around to this sequel. Given its shocking 'Rotten Tomatoes' score, and the cast list some how featuring the return of every comprised character from the first, may be a big factor in why I have chosen not to dive into this one too quickly.


Things pick up here immediately after the events of the first film revealing to the audience that the final act we saw in part 1 was in fact just a-rouse. And although this provides a way for all the cast members to make a return for the sequel, it majorly undercuts the impactful climax of the first film and for me critically damages that films rewatchablity. With this groups new-found fame after surviving the terrifying kidnapping, we follow them as they are now high in demand to be testers for haunts across the country, that is until the inevitable return of 'The Blue Skeleton' group.


There was a part of me early on that thought they were going to switch up the format from found footage, due to the rather jarringly cinematic style opening title sequence. Thankfully this wasn't the case and things soon revert back to the found footage angle, making it feel more authentic and in keeping with the first. One thing that is added to the cinematography and does amplify the overall visual aesthetics is the inclusion of droan footage, something I'm surprised isn't more utilised in found footage movies these days. The scope these shots can provide to a format that is usually rather self-contained really takes the overall visually to a new level.


As mentioned earlier, the ending of the first is retconned, allowing all original cast members to return for this sequel. And although the reveal of their survival comprises the ending of the first, it paves way for more character development for this group this time around. We see multiple conversations between them as they discuss their thrill seeking lifestyle and the trauma and implications it has on their lives moving forward since the events of the first film. This added character development does challenge the casts acting skill more than the first film and it shows. More so for Brandy Schaefer, who plays Brandy. I found her delivery of dialogue and expression of emotions to be a struggle for her as an actress and at times her performance is rather distracting. For me, this really compromises the much needed believability that is pivotal to any found footage movie.


One element of this movie I enjoyed just as much as the first is the inclusion of real life haunts and Halloween based activities across America. As staged as the overall narrative is, the locations and attractions this group encounter along the way are not, featuring some truly mind blowing places such as a Zombie pub crawl and my personal favourite the Zombie fun run. Seeing these places and the cast getting to experience them was the strongest side to this production, along with interview segments of genuine workers from these attractions. Maybe sticking to a straight forward documentary might have been the better option for these films.


Overall, I found that this sequel causes more harm than good. Not only comprising the events of the first, but also having an ending so unfulfilling that it makes both these film seem so entirely pointless and begs the question as to why the writers decided to go down this road with the plot. Having waited so long to pick back up with these films, I really wish I hadn't bothered. This is one of the most disappointing sequels I have encountered in recent years and if you are a fan of the first film like I was, this entry will certainly tarnish that enjoyment. Avoid at all costs.


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